Western What?, 3

My favorite experience of my internship thus far was definitely running my first Western Blot! A Western Blot is a method commonly used in research that allows scientists to quantity a specific protein in a sample. My supervisor and I were working with mice brains to measure two different proteins levels. The entire process- which includes tissue preparation, protein assay, gel electrophoresis, transferring, washing, and imaging- can take up to two and a half days. Essentially, the prepped samples are placed in gel wells. When the gel is connected to a power supply, the protein from each samples travels down the gel based on size. The gel (now filled with protein) is placed on top of a thin membrane, which after transfering will become the new carrier of the proteins. The membrane is washed with a primary antibody, which attaches to the protein of interest. Next, a secondary antibody is added, and this antibody attaches to the primary antibody. The secondary antibody is unique because it fluoresces; this characteristic is what allows people to view the protein during imaging. Evidently, Western Blots can be pretty complex. Nonetheless, they are helping Abbvie neuroscientists make discoveries about neurodegenerative diseases, and it was so cool to be able to be part of that process!

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